Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations says Jonah Engler Silberman. It has been shown to be beneficial for overall mental health and well-being.
If you are new to mindfulness or looking for ways to increase your practice, here are 15 simple exercises to get started.
1) Sitting Meditation:
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and eyes closed. Focus your attention on your breath as it goes in and out of your body. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
2) Body Scan:
Lie down or sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Slowly focus your attention on different parts of your body, taking a few deep breaths into each area. Notice any sensations that are present – whether it is tension, pain, or relaxation. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
3) Walking Meditation:
Walk slowly and mindfully, focusing on the feeling of your feet as they touch the ground. Pay attention to the sounds and smells around you, and how your body moves with each step. Practice for 10-15 minutes per day explains Jonah Engler Silberman.
4) Mindful Eating:
Take the time to really savor and enjoy your food. Chew slowly and pay attention to the taste, texture, and smell of each bite. Notice how your body feels after eating. Practice for 10-15 minutes per day.
5) Deep Breathing:
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and eyes closed. Inhale deeply through your nose, counting to 5 or 6. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times.
6) Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
Lie down or sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Slowly tense and relax different muscle groups in your body, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
7) Gratitude Journal:
Each night, take a few minutes to write down 3-5 things you are grateful for from that day. It can be something as simple as the sun shining, a good conversation, or a delicious meal. Practicing gratitude can help shift your focus from negative to positive experiences.
8) Mindful Coloring:
Coloring can be a great way to relax and focus on the present moment. Find a coloring book that appeals to you, or simply use some blank paper and a set of crayons. Color slowly and mindfully, focusing on the colors and shapes before you explains Jonah Engler Silberman.
9) Meditation Cushion:
If you find it difficult to sit cross-legged or in a lotus position for long periods of time, try using a meditation cushion. This will help to elevate your hips and make sitting more comfortable.
10) Mindful Yoga:
Yoga is a great way to connect with your body and mind. Try practicing some simple yoga poses that are conducive to mindfulness meditation. Hold each pose for a few breaths, and focus on how the pose feels in your body.
11) Music Meditation:
Listening to calming music can be a great way to relax and focus on the present moment. Find some music that appeals to you and sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Listen to the music mindfully, focusing on the sound of the instruments or vocals.
12) Candle Meditation:
Light a candle and sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Focus your attention on the flame, watching it dance and flicker. Notice the different colors and how they change over time. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
13) Mantra Meditation:
Choose a mantra – a word or phrase that you repeat over and over – and say it slowly and mindfully. Jonah Engler Silberman says you can say it out loud or silently to yourself. Focus on the meaning of the mantra and how it makes you feel. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
14) Guided Meditation:
There are many great guided meditation recordings available online and in stores. Find one that appeals to you and sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Follow the instructions closely, and allow yourself to be guided by the voice on the recording. Practice for 5-10 minutes per day.
15) Nature Meditation:
Spend some time outside in nature, observing the plants, trees, and animals around you. Pay attention to the sound of the wind and the way the sun feels on your skin. Practice for 10-15 minutes per day.
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for improving mental health and well-being explains Jonah Engler Silberman. If you are new to mindfulness or looking for ways to increase your practice, these exercises can help get you started.